'Anabta, Ar-Ras, Jubara (Kafriat), Tue 29.7.08, Afternoon
We enter Jubara.
We arrive at Ar Ras roadblock.
The checkpoint is quiet and the soldiers say that they rarely stop cars for checks. But there’s a soldier stationed at the western post, a post that usually remains unmanned.
A large truck with eggs makes the turn from Tul Karem towards the small villages, on the very narrow and many pot-holed road; slowly, slowly, and thus maybe only a couple of eggs will break on the way.
We leave Jbara on the way to Anabta. At the Te’enim checkpoint there are six cars waiting to enter Israel.
We arrive at Anabta and surprised to find a long queue; 23 cars are waiting to enter Tul Karem. On the way out from the city the line is also long; we cannot see its end.
By the checkpoint next to the tower there’s an army SUV; two armed soldiers are guarding it; they seem different from soldiers usually stationed at the roadblocks – hair a bit longer, expression a bit more mature, body language a bit more confident. The back door of the SUV is open and it blocks our view. We can only see the legs of the people standing behind it; they’re wearing jeans. Now they step around the door, and I see one young guy and another older, both have an Arab look. (Like all Israelis, I profile in a flash – before I even begin to notice that my mind is at it, the sense of ethnic/national identity of the people I encounter has been established.) The younger man walks to one of the soldiers and the latter hands back to him his ID; “thanks bro” the young man in jeans says to the soldier, and continues on his way towards Tul Karem. “Who was this?” I ask the soldier; “a friend of mine,” he answers… I see he’s holding a notepad and on it some information is jotted in a table; “what did you write there?” I ask, “and who are you?”; “It’s none of your business, the soldier answers. I try to get close to the SUV; trying to see what’s behind the door, asking what’s inside, but I can’t gather anything. “You’re a threat to Israel” the soldier hisses at me. Meanwhile another Palestinian young man leaves the SUV, receives his ID, and continues to Tul Karem. The older jeans-clad Arab looking man says to the two soldiers “we’ve got nothing to fish for here anymore; we should clear out.” The three of them get into the SUV and leave the roadblock; the civilian is driving.
It’s the first time I encounter such mysterious presence at the roadblock; Yael suggests that they might be Israeli Security Services. Later when we arrive at Beit Ibba, the kiosk owner confirms; cab drivers have been reporting to him since morning that the Security Services are at Anabta roadblock.
Meanwhile at the checkpoint the line continues to be long; but, surprisingly, the soldiers hardly check anything – few drivers are asked to show their IDs and even fewer are asked to open up their cars for inspections. So why the long queue? Simply because the soldiers are busy talking amongst themselves and on their cell phones; thus the cars are waved through slowly, and the seconds that pass between one car and another accumulate.
Another army vehicle arrives at the roadblock and another soldier steps out; he’s of a slightly higher rank than the ones stationed at the checkpoint but they’re all friends belonging to the same unit. Nonetheless, he carries himself a little more authoritatively than the rest of them. I ask to speak with him, and point his attention to the long lines and the superfluous delays. He denies that there are superfluous delays, but when he returns to the checkpoint the cars begin to flow at a quicker pace.
We leave Anabta checkpoint.